1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, the son of David and king of Israel. 2 They will help you learn to be wise, to accept correction, and to understand wise sayings. 3 They will teach you to develop your mind in the right way. You will learn to do what is right and to be honest and fair. 4 These proverbs will make even those without education smart. They will teach young people what they need to know and how to use what they have learned. 5 Even the wise could become wiser by listening to these proverbs. They will gain understanding and learn to solve difficult problems. 6 These sayings will help you understand proverbs, stories with hidden meanings, words of the wise, and other difficult sayings.
7 Knowledge begins with fear and respect for the Lord, but stubborn fools hate wisdom and refuse to learn.
Advice to a Son
8 My son,[a] listen to your father when he corrects you, and don’t ignore what your mother teaches you. 9 What you learn from your parents will bring you honor and respect, like a crown or a gold medal.[b]
10 My son, those who love to do wrong will try to trick you. Don’t listen to them. 11 They will say, “Come with us. Let’s hide and beat to death anyone who happens to walk by. 12 We will swallow them whole, as the grave swallows the dying. 13 We will take everything they have and fill our houses with stolen goods. 14 So join us, and you can share everything we get.”
15 My son, don’t follow them. Don’t even take the first step along that path. 16 They run to do something evil, and they cannot wait to kill someone.
17 You cannot trap birds with a net if they see you spreading it out. 18 But evil people cannot see the trap they set for themselves. 19 This is what happens to those who are greedy. Whatever they get destroys them.
The Good Woman—Wisdom
20 Listen! Wisdom[c] is shouting in the streets. She is crying out in the marketplace. 21 She is calling out where the noisy crowd gathers:
22 “Fools, how long will you love being ignorant? How long will you make fun of wisdom? How long will you hate knowledge? 23 I wanted to tell you everything I knew and give you all my knowledge, but you didn’t listen to my advice and teaching.
24 “I tried to help, but you refused to listen. I offered my hand, but you turned away from me. 25 You ignored my advice and refused to be corrected. 26 So I will laugh at your troubles and make fun of you when what you fear happens. 27 Disasters will strike you like a storm. Problems will pound you like a strong wind. Trouble and misery will weigh you down.
28 “Fools will call for me, but I will not answer. They will look for me, but they will not find me. 29 That is because they hated knowledge. They refused to fear and respect the Lord. 30 They ignored my advice and refused to be corrected. 31 They filled their lives with what they wanted. They went their own way, so they will get what they deserve.
32 “Fools die because they refuse to follow wisdom. They are content to follow their foolish ways, and that will destroy them. 33 But those who listen to me will live in safety and comfort. They will have nothing to fear.”
- Proverbs 1:8 My son The proverbs in this section may have been directed originally to a teenage boy, perhaps a prince, who was becoming a young man. They are intended to teach him how to be a responsible person and leader who loves and respects God.
- Proverbs 1:9 Literally, “They are like a wreath of favor to your head and a necklace around your neck.”
- Proverbs 1:20 Wisdom Wisdom is pictured here as a good woman trying to get the attention of this young man, calling him to be wise and obey God. In a later passage (9:13-18), Foolishness is represented as another woman who is urging him toward a life of sin.